• "…our top three franchises, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft, accounted for approximately 68% of our net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009. We expect that a limited number of popular franchises will increasingly produce a disproportionately high percentage of our revenues and profits." How depressing. Bill Harris delves into Activision's latest financial report and finds more rational behind the crazy Infinity Ward shenanigans of the past week.
  • "Valve subtly guides the player’s attention toward significant events and objects by using elements naturally found in the game world. This allows the player to retain control of their perspective without getting lost or confused, and contributes to an overall immersive experience." Matthew Gallant puts together a nice selection of screengrabs to illustrate Valve's craft.
  • "There was an implicit value judgement in Greenfield's talk between the "purely sensory experiences" of raves or today's computer games, and the cognitive activities of reading a book or listening to a symphony, which, because they make us "see one thing in terms of another thing", involve a more mature mental engagement. For Greenfield, the Beethoven was a higher experience because it offered an "escape from the moment", where a rave was about losing yourself to the "thrill of the moment". I think that's a flimsy distinction, since both are about submitting to the sensory power of music. I'd like to see the difference in brain activity between somebody "escaping" life's mundanities and another person "thrilling" to the implacable now of the beat."
  • "I thoroughly enjoy the more real time nature of these diary fragments popping up among my friends’ updates. It’s easy to picture @samuelpepys conducting his business and pleasure, travelling around London — from his home near the Tower of London to Deptford to Westminster — when he’s updating you on his progress during the day." Phil on the joy of small updates from things that aren't (quite) people.
  • "Sony acts like a character in a Charlotte Brontë novel–they seem to think they have an entire lifetime to seize the moment."
  • "He's going to like that album, and then he's going to ask you about The Police, and he's going to want to know why they aren't together anymore. How are you going to explain what happened to Sting? You know, when he started singing about turtles and ponies and became an obsessive Beanie Baby collector. What are you going to say?" Bill doesn't want to have to explain Sting to Eli.
  • "To justify such an investment in time, a game would not only have to match the content of the course, but provide a learning experience that couldn't be accomplished through reading, writing and class discussion." Todd Bryant on how he integrated playing games into his teaching programmes; some nice ideas in here, notably using MMOs for language tuition, and some commentary on the suitability of various titles for this sort of thing.
  • "Maybe [games publishers] think there could never be enough competition, excitement, betrayal, surprise, defeat, skull-daggery, and general griefer-worthy assholeishness in a game without direct conflict. But the last year’s worth of news out of Wall Street tells a different story. It’s a tale of a system corrupted from the inside by the scheming, cheating, gaming of a few powerful and greedy individuals. If this is not prime material for a videogame, I don’t know what is."